Bota Bar is a Hand-Built Spot With Obscure Pours, Great Tapas... and No Sign Outside

In blocks dominated by new construction and sterile exteriors, Bota Bar is a warm-hearted refuge.

Hidden two blocks north of Rontoms and completely unsigned, brand-new Bota Bar (606 NE Davis St., 971-229-1287, botabar.com) is a startlingly civilized place.

In a homey, hand-built wine and beer bottle shop full of obscure pours—Basque sidra, Cameron natural wine, and beers from Denmark with American hops—each drink arrives with a small bite that will come as a surprise. The first bite may be humble, like warm pretzels with house dip, but ramps up from there to things like lovely Spanish ham on the second bite. We haven't yet had a third bite, but we're told it's even better than that.

Owners Alan Hill and Benjamin Allen built their refillable-bottle bar pretty much from scratch with a lot of recycled materials. In a nook with bench seating, the coffee tables are made of gnarled, knotty wood that would have been otherwise unusable, stained and oiled to a pretty shine. Alongside a sake tap and taps of by-the-glass wines, the tap list includes a fantastically complex Belgian strong pale from cult brewery Mikkeller, alongside local standbys like Pfriem IPA and Commons Farmhouse for $5 a glass or $6 a pint.

But what brings you back to Bota Bar isn't the tapas or the rare beers and well-chosen wines—it's the simple, old-school hospitality of its owners. In blocks dominated by new construction and sterile exteriors, Bota Bar is a warm-hearted refuge.